What happens vs. England in October?

free counters

World Cup Playoffs – How Does It Work?

October 10, 2017



Two Games Away



After beating Ukraine in Kiev yesterday, Croatia are two games away from qualifying for the World Cup in Russia. While many thought we should have finished 1st in our group, this is no new territory for the Vatreni.



Other Times Croatia Were In a WC Playoff?






The Golden Generation didn’t qualify first in their group. They had to beat Ukraine 3-1 on aggregate to advance to France.






Before we got to Brazil, we had to beat Iceland 2-0 (aggregate) to advance. Unfortunately, we all know what happened there.



Yuichi Nishimura

Yuichi Nishimura



How The Playoff System Works






Eight of the nine teams who finished second in their group qualify for a two-legged playoff. The second place team with the lowest points out of all the groups is the one that will be missing out.





How are they matched up? 



Eight teams will be drawn into two columns. The 4 teams with the highest FIFA rankings will be “seeded”, while the bottom four pray to God they don’t get matched up against the team with the highest ranking. A seeded will play an unseeded over two legs. Best aggregate score goes to the World Cup. Away goal rule will be in play.


When is the Draw? 



October 17th.



When do the games start?



Since each team will have to play a HOME and AWAY game, you will get to see two games. The first leg starts on November 9th (Thursday) and November 11th (Saturday).



* If you aren’t watching Saturday’s game at your nearest Croatian Dom, you should probably rethink your life.



What happens if we win?



If we win, the final draw for WC 2018 will be held on December 1st.





Matthew Lebo
Posted By: Matthew Lebo 96 comments

  1. Iggy Iggy says:

    Thanks man but i didnt understand this:

    For example, if Greece do not win, Croatia would face one of the teams in the right hand column

    What does Greece winning have to do with it? We’re playing one of the right-hand column teams anyway arent we? I thought we were assured a seeded pot position so we’ll be playing one of the lower 4. Anyway prolly avoiding Sweden would be good, maybe avoiding Greece too

  2. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    Ignore the Greece part Iggy. That was in there because they are currently playing and the final standings haven’t settled yet. But you are right.

  3. Mr. Black says:

    I’ve read somewhere that N-Ireland will drop to the non-seeded teams due to their recent losses. Denmark would take their place. So it’s gonna be Greece, Sweden, Ireland or N-Ireland.

  4. Peter North says:

    @Mr. Black, that is very possible. I think someone had posted that scenario in one of the other threads.

    I like our chances regardless. I think Ukraine was stronger than any of the non seeded teams.

  5. Mr. Black says:

    It’s gonna be N-Ireland and not Denmark.

    For those who know some French, I found this in one of the most important Swiss newspapers:

    On connaît déjà le nom des quatre adversaires potentiels de la Suisse pour les barrage dans un mois: la Suède, l’Irlande du Nord, l’Eire et la Grèce. Tête de série au même titre que l’Italie, la Croatie et le Danemark, la Suisse sera ainsi protégée lors du tirage au sort du mardi 17 octobre à Zurich.

    Translation: We already know the names of the 4 teams we could meet in the playoffs next month: Sweden, N-Ireland, Ireland or Greece. We (Switzerland) are the number one in the list of seeded team. The other seeded teams are Italy, Croatia and Danmark….

  6. The truth says:

    My model predicts that Croatia has a 25 percent chance of drawing any of the four bottom seeds

    Sorry to state the obvious. But i figure maybe through baby steps i can better educate guys like zee who’s parents have failed him on basic concepts of math and likely Croatian

  7. Croatianperson85 says:

    Hey Truth – nice post. I also read if Croatia wins both games they have a 100% chance of qualifying is this still true? I hope so.

  8. Croatianperson85 says:

    Predictions (if Sweden goes into pot 1 instead of N Ireland – how the F are they even there to begin with these rankings are complete malarkey)

    Croatia vs Greece
    Italy vs Denmark
    Switzerland vs Ireland
    Sweden vs N.Ireland

    I know it’s random but we already know Fifa has pulled strings before in the past and probably still does. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, just saying.

  9. Traditional Croat says:

    Swiss vs Greece
    Italy vs Rep. Ireland
    Croatia vs Denmark
    N. Ireland vs Sweden

    Use the rankings and these would be our match ups. Top ranked team should get the lowest ranked team.

    @The truth
    Stop with your stupid predictions, your model doesn’t measure the intangibles, like, did you know that 4 Ukrainian players had gastro the night before?

  10. Mile says:

    Guys, the playoffs are set. Croatia can’t play Denmark. It’s either Northern Ireland, Sweden, Ireland or Greece. Here are FIFA rankings for October:
    Switzerland – 1,134
    Italy – 1,066
    Croatia – 1,013
    Denmark – 1,001

    N. Ireland – 889
    Sweden – 872
    Ireland – 866
    Greece – 682

  11. Mile says:

    And if Uruguay doesn’t win tonight, Croatia is a #2 seed for the World Cup draw if they win their playoff. And Uruguay is losing 1-0 to Bolivia.

  12. Mile says:

    These numbers are the points after all of the games that were just played. They are the October 16 ranking points.

  13. Zee says:

    Truth troll ok dude. Now you are getting personal. Fuck you and whoever knows or knew you. This is a sports site. Not a personal thing.

  14. Croatianperson85 says:

    @ Zee – I ran my models and 60% of your post above is true. 35% of it is false, probably the “not a personal thing,” and 5% is indifference.

    With that being said it’s clear as day that Croatia has a 78% chance of qualifying.

    Disclaimer – For the record I am 100% pure idiot.

  15. Iggy Iggy says:

    yeah i just watched HRT news here in aus and they said what Mile said above, denmark is not in pot 2 anymore, it’s confirmed by them to be northern ireland, ireland, sweden or greece

    so it’s one of those fuckers.. BRING ON NTH IRELAND LEL

  16. The truth says:

    @ traditional croat

    You are right. A serious flaw in the models is they can’t measure intangibles such as food poisoning. Although overtime you would think these things even out. And also the point of the models is to somewhat discount intangibles at not being that important

    That being said, i did break 27th my model and changed the win/tie/loss against Ukraine from 25/40/35 to 35/20/45
    To account for both teams needing a win. Guess i was right again giving a result a nearly 80 percent probability

  17. Maminjo says:

    @Traditional Croat

    That draw you posted has a lot of nostalgia. Those pairings have a bit of history. I wouldn’t mind seeing these games.

  18. Iggy Iggy says:

    what’s the cro v sweden nostalgia? i can recall playing them in qualies once and didnt Srna score a penalty or free kick once or twice? it was a while ago i think!

  19. Croatianperson85 says:

    Ya twice I can remember. Srna penalty in one game and I think a free kick from distance in another. Nice goal.

  20. Iggy Iggy says:

    looked it up, we beat them 1-0 both home and away in qualifies for ’06 WC (Srna got both goals)

    while in 2003 in a friendly we beat them in sweden 2-1 – boris zivkovic scored, there’s a rare one

    and in 2012 they beat us 3-1 in croatia!

  21. Mile says:

    Live table, if Panana scores against Costa Rica, and nothing else changes, the US is out of the World Cup. 30 minutes to go.

  22. Peter North says:

    That US game will have a bunch of injury time.

    You wonder if Costa Rica and Mexico took their feet off the peddle a bit knowing the US was trailing.

  23. Poglavnik says:

    Thaaat”s a shame..
    ESPN earlier had the either Honduras or Panama going into the playoff. They didn’t even mention the possibility of USA potentially losing.
    Love it!

  24. Peter North says:

    @Mile, it will still be a tough matchup for the Aussies. Are they really still relying on old man Cahill to bail them out?

  25. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Before the game started they said the US had a 93% chance to advance…they forgot to tell that to Honduras and Panama!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Truth Troll updated his Xbox modeling and it said 100% chance USA eliminated.. he just didn’t tell anyone until after the game. Why? Cuz you can stick with a pre game 50/50 and still claim to be right no matter what happens!

  27. Mile says:

    For the playoffs, if Croatia, Italy and Switzerland win their playoff, and Peru win their playoff with New Zealand, Croatia would be a #3 seed for the World Cup draw. Croatia would need one of the other three to lose to bump up to a #2 seed. The number #1 seeds for the final draw are:

    Five of the number 2 seeds are known:

    After that, it depends on the playoffs and what happens in Africa. Serbia will be a #4 seed, unless Greece wins their playoff and New Zealand upsets Peru. It would be nice if Croatia drew Greece. Beat them out and it would be a bonus to ensure the Serbs placement as a bottom seed.

  28. Soul Champ says:

    Man the World Cup is a blessing.



    Probably some good African sides.

    Australia is a different cup of tea for Honduras.

    They will match the physicality.

    I like to see the socceroos in the World Cup.

    Pulisic would of been the X factor for Croatia.

    They probably would have played him u21 because they know better than Borussia Dortmund.

    I wonder if Pulisic makes a January move now that Russia is not a focus ?

    They’ll probably focus him on Olympics, the USA likes that tournament.

    I am curious who the USA will hire has coach etc…

    Time to turn the page.

    You have a phenom in Pulisic.

    They have ~$100 million in the bank at the USMNT …

    But no World Cup.

    Can’t beat Trinidad and Tobago to go to the World Cup ?

    That is mind boggling !

    I am going to allow the draw to unfold before I start to ramp up my hype-ness for this November to remember.

  29. Dannyj says:

    Good luck to pulisic but should have respected his genes

    Really liked the interview with the new skipper
    Hope it’s not just saying what people want to hear but sounds i liked the way he spoke.

    Remember when we used to debate Landon Donovan with rakitic. Haha the probability of USA making World Cup 0 percent

  30. Iggy says:

    Their chances to make this world cup, so it’s some model? LOL.. i like that.. it’s actually Truth’s model !

    Anywho, i wanted US to playoff versus AUS tbh ! my wife is a yank and it would’ve been heaps of fun! We couldve watched together but now its honduras sigh, no fun at all

    fwiw i dont like the socceroos, i never liked them since 2006 when they had a massive dummyspit and whine about the grosso tackle, and since then they have just been abject racist cunts always calling their asian colleagues dirty cheats etc, the lot of them are despicable cuntrashes so generally when i watch them i tend to support the other time

    to quote ned zelic, doesnt matter if i was born in aus i bleed red and white checkers ! :D

  31. CiganJeCigan says:

    if i hear one more fucking comment about this pusildick kid ima kms. The website is called “CroatianSports” not whine about a non-croat not choosing to play for Croatia.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Bunch of two faced faggots on this site talking about how Croatian blood trumps the country you were born in while at the same time calling any white man who’s loyal to his own race a “racist”. Are you really that fucking stupid and brainwashed not to recognize your own hypocrisy?

    Then one of you retards will say “racism” is “hating” people who don’t look like you” and then go on saying the most vile things about Serbs or some other white people who DO look like you. Your two faced faggotry and your White self hatred is a mental sickness.

  33. Iggy says:

    Well to be fair Serbs are incredibly dirty cunts so it’s kinda fair.

    No, what i specifically mean is over the past few years, every time the Aussie teams has played a country like, say Oman, they come to mind, the aussie players continually in interviews talk about how they’re a dirty team who will use dirty tactics and are generally dirty. They go out of their way to say it about any darker country, ie, Oman, Iran, Iraq, etc – but theyre fine with Japan, Korea, etc.

    I’m not the only one who has picked up on this massive undercurrent of racist dialogue from the aussies over a number of years now – it’s very clearly there and obnoxious at times.

    In fact, i mentioned the Grosso thing above, how “their type cheat” I remember Lucas Neill going on and on about how italians are all cheats so it seems there is a history of this with aussies – they have no grace and basically abuse select countries they play in a rather disgraceful manner. I think they are using the cricket sledging approach to soccer but dont realise it’s out of place and entirely unbecoming

  34. BZ says:

    i will now root for the socceroos. Iggy’s accusations of micro-aggressions are awesome. I support ppl who are not racists, getting called racists because of supposed micro-aggressions.

    Word has it that the USMNT lost on purpose to boycott the corruption within the USMNT. Long term pain for short term gain!

    @Soul Champ-haven’t watched much, but I am not buying the Pulisic phenom hype. Watched an interview once, & I don’t think he has the mindset to be as good as his billing. Sounded like a millenial wuss, which imo, doesn’t translate into greatness. Guess I have to watch him play more, but I’ll stick with Kramaric/Perisic/and Pjaca.

  35. BZ says:

    Not sure Dalic (or whomever) will stray from our new 4 back lineup (as in Pivaric probably won’t start again.).

    1) We finally looked decent on Corners and Crosses.

    2)I loved how Vida didn’t overlap as much as Vrsaljko would have. This allowed our Attacking players to commit further up the field. Vrsaljko’s lack of the best left foot, was a blessing, as even he didn’t venture as far up as normal.

  36. Anonymous says:

    “White self hatred.”

    You stupid moron!
    You are the worst Anonymous of all the Anonymous’s

  37. Soul Champ says:

    @ BZ

    Dalić deployed the back 4 with intelligence against a desperate Ukraine who needed to score and win.

    Bottom four unseeded teams will bunker.

    We need the full backs over lapping to create width to allow for some space for Modrić to work his magic.

    Strinic needs to be called back.

    Also like to see Vlašić in the fold. He his thriving for u21 and showing glimpses for Everton. His father gave him world class track training and he has the dynamic physicality to compliment Modrić.

    Curious who else gets healthy and is in good form ?

    We need 180+++ minutes of Vatreni football over these next two matches.

    We will all remember this November.

  38. Mile says:

    Idemo, there are sites that show the ranking points of all combinations of wins for each country for the October games. So once they were completed, we already know the ranking points for the next FIFA rankings for October, which the playoff draw and the final tournament draw is based on. So I took all of the qualifiers points, and started putting them in pots. The first 13 seeds are set right now. Switzerland is #14, but because they haven’t qualified yet, we can’t figure out anybody’s slot until the playoffs. FIFA changed the seeding to be based on overall ranking, not on region.

  39. Stefan says:

    First make it to the World Cup don’t worry about World Cup seeds yet. There will not be an easy apponent in the playoff Croatia can struggle against less ranked teams. Will Serbia be in 3rd of 4th seed really is out of our hands but main thing is we are there already.

  40. Idemo says:

    Millennial wuss ; terms used by older generations who are jealous millennials are doing what they X wasn’t doing when they were in their 20s.

    Factually proven generations before millennials are ruining the world/economy

  41. Ante Montanic says:

    Kengurska zemlja Klokanska zemlja Vlasic to thrive with Modric more like Halilovic would be better with Modric. I think if we draw Greece they can knock us out with their boring style of play but we can beat the others.

  42. Brkic says:

    I was watching the US play and hoping they would qualify, but truthfully this may be the worst US team in the last 30-40 years. They’re completely reliant on Pulisic who is only 19. The US tends to overachieve and get the most out of an average squad, but you can only do so much when there is no depth.

    Croatia on the other hand has great quality and depth, yet is underachieving with the current generation. Transfer value is a good indication of this with many playing for Champions League sides and many more in top leagues around Europe. I know many self-haters on here dispute this, yet they fail to provide any measurement better than transfer value. We just need to start playing to our level and then we’ll do fine. If we can get the most out of this group, we’ll be dangerous in the WC.

  43. Idemo says:

    But what levels that when just like you say we are “constantly achieving”?

    I have to disagree with you regarding transfer value especially with this market. And it’s hardly inflation

  44. Iggy Iggy says:

    yeah i like the guy who put up the total value of the teams in our group, i cant remember the figures but i think Cro was about 300 mill and then turkey was like 100 mill and the others were well below

    on that measure we should win tbh

    anyways the reason why we’ve had 4 playoffs before and 4 successes is that they normally happen on nov 11th or so and that’s my birthday and the team dont personally want to disappoint me on by bday so u fuckers should all be thanking me after we win on the 11th (give or take a day)

  45. Anonymous says:

    Stefan, I’m not “worried” about seeds, I’m just giving the facts. I actually wouldn’t mind Croatia as a #3 seed if they make the World Cup. They play better against good teams, plus the games would be more interesting. They just need to take care of business next month.

  46. Stefan says:

    We will see what happens when it starts. Im really looking forward to watching the playoff knowing that Serbia is already qualify i can watch your game with enjoyment with beer while you guys are going through stress. I would really like an Ireland-Croatia match even though Croatia has the better team the Irish always fight and they can get dangerous. Just not Greece everyone will agree with me that they play such a boring football.

  47. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I really didn’t want to talk US Soccer but I’ll quickly mention this. Yes, we (Croatia) have our own problems so pointing fingers isn’t nice…but its gotta be said.

    The US National team failed HUGE…more than most people even know. The amount of money invested into US Soccer by Nike alone is astronomical…so for the US to produce shit, in a shit region with shit competition all while their pampered asses have been backed by a super power of a sponsor…while the likes of Panama and Honduras can barely get sponsors to back them…this is HUGE!

    someone on here said Bruce Arena is alright. maybe he is, but I’ve always seen him as cocky and arrogant…over confident clown!

  48. BZ says:

    @Ivan-The nations league will put an end to the oft disputed concept of a “meaningless friendly”

    I am all for it. Considering we are in the top division, we won’t have to watch meaningless games vs San Marino, Estonia, Faroe Islands etc but rather meaningful games vs Germany, England, France, Italy and Spain.

    Might take the luster off the Euro cup a bit, but whatever.

  49. Majstro says:

    Well looks like Croatias home game in the playoff will be played without fans

    Croatia to be fined and play in front of empty stadium in opening playoff round due to Croatian fans in Ukraine lighting flares and chanting nazi slogans

  50. Adame says:

    Was anyone else pissed off when the team was celebrating and dancing after the win and then again in the locker room after Ukraine? I was genuinely more pissed off at them for this then when they drew Finland. They shouldnt be happy they should still be kicking themselves for holding 1st place for almost two years and then giving it away last minute.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually sort of relieved to play in front of an empty stadium. Don’t have to worry about the anti-cro Holiga Kvartuc contingent and what rhey might do. Unless they put time release grass killer in the shape of a swastika on the pitch again of course.

  52. Iggy Iggy says:

    I think Majstro is bullshitting about the empty stadium

    wow, i had never heard of that league of nations, so it’s like a mini euro cup? That’s what the format looks like, umm, how often does it happen?

  53. BZ says:

    Dear Fifa,
    I’d rather be called a monkey, have flares thrown at me, and even be victim of German nazi chants THAN have a green laser pointed at my eyes. That is seriously dangerous. Modric had it in his eyes on several occassions.

    Just like vs Czechs at Euros, flares only came when things are going well for us. Purposely trying to sabotage our success. Maybe one of those guys hoping team would walk off in a protest?

  54. Iggy Iggy says:

    Yeah that laser pointing evferytime we had a free kick in Luka’s eyes was very cuntish

    can anyone confirm this empty stadium story is actually true though? I could find no such info

  55. Poglavnik says:

    It’s no big deal. Argentina’s players celebrated like crazy in Ecuadors dressing room. It was a big win. Celebrating together can make us stronger.

  56. Iggy Iggy says:

    Yeah i liked seeing them celebrate tbh.. they had fucked up earlier games but on the night, this was the abso best result, to make the playoffs, so why shouldnt they celebrate? it was a hugely important and impressive victory and the best outcome attainable at the time, no need to dwell on the past, we have to move on and deal with the current situation

  57. Adame says:

    Poglavnik and Iggy –

    You’re probably right. The positive vibes can only help. I feel 100% confident we’ll be in Russia next summer. I guess when i saw the celebrations it just brought out the frustration i have been holding in bc of this teams past performances.

  58. Iggy Iggy says:

    can definitely understand that, after the game my first thought was: where was this second half performance the last 4 games???

  59. Anonymous says:

    “If you don’t like the U.S. get the fuck out.”

    That’s a slave’s way of saying accept whatever the current ruling establishment dishes out. A bunch of anti-white psychopaths and their toadies pouring the 3rd world into the U.S. for decades and FORCING (by a 1960’s constitutional amendment) White people to “assimilate” with them.

Your email address will not be published.